Mahindra TUV300 Test Drive Review

Mahindra TUV300 review

We drive Mahindra`s TUV300 to find out if it has the armoury to shake up the compact SUV segment in the country?

The compact SUV space is where all the action is happening nowadays. Mahindra was the first company to launch the sub 4-metre Quanto SUV in the country, but to everyone`s disappointment the car failed to sell in good numbers. Having learnt its lesson from the failure of the Quanto, Mahindra launched the TUV300 in India after a lot of research. So how different is the TUV300 when compared to the Quanto and does it have the same qualities like the Scorpio and Bolero to be as successful as them? We find out by taking the “TANK” as Mahindra calls it for a detailed test drive review.

Mahindra tuv300 front view

TUV300 Exteriors –

Based on an all-new platform the Mahindra TUV300 has been designed with inputs from Italian design house Pininfarina. The first thing that meets your eye when you see the TUV300 is its imposing presence though it is under 4-metres. The Jeep inspired front grille and large air-dam with the raised bonnet gives it a tall stance. Mahindra has done its homework with the TUV, as the design is very true to the fact that it is a True Blue SUV which takes design inspiration from a Battle Tank. Some of you may not like the boxy design, but the styling does not go over the top like in the XUV500 and new Scorpio which has some tacky plastic bits at the rear end. The top end T8 variant which we tested comes with chrome inserts for the fog lamps.

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The wheel arches have been squared out to give it a rugged feel, while the alloy wheel design looks very sporty. The wheels though look very puny on the TUV300, we think the SUV would look much better with a larger set of wheels. From the side the TUV300 continues with its boxy design aided by strong shoulder lines on either side. The D-pillar has been blacked out to give it a floating roof effect. The body coloured C-pillar breaks the monotony of the large green house lines. As a matter of fact a few bystanders who were present during the shoot said that the TUV300 looked its best when viewed head-on or from the rear which we agree. The rear looks attractive with the neatly integrated taillights and the spare wheel makes it look like a proper SUV.

Mahindra tuv300 steering wheel

TUV300 Interiors, space and comfort –

Step inside the Mahindra TUV300 and you are greeted by a roomy and spacious cabin. Not just that, this is one of the best cabin`s we`ve seen on a Mahindra vehicle. The design is clutter free aided by grey and beige combination. The dashboard has a neat layout with the centre console housing the infotainment system which is finished in glossy piano black with brushed aluminium finished silver inserts on the door handles, ac vents, and the steering wheel.
The buttons and dials on the dash are easy to read while the fit and finish is exceptional for a Mahindra product.

mahindra tuv300 rear legroom

Legroom, headroom and shoulder room is quite generous in the Mahindra TUV300. The front seats are comfortable but could do with some additional padding for those long journeys. The second row can seat three adults in comfort with good legroom and headroom. I being a 6 footer was able to sit comfortably, though under thigh support is not adequate. The third row of seats can be used to seat two adults but for all practical reasons it is best if this space is left for small children as long journeys in last row could be quite cumbersome for mature adults.

There are enough cubby holes and bottle holders in the Mahindra TUV300 to keep your knick-knacks and other important stuff.

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TUV300 Equipment and Feature list –

The Mahindra TVU300 is packed with features and creature comforts that makes it stand at par with its competitors. The top end T8 variant which we drove comes equipped with safety features like Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and dual airbags for the front passengers. Apart from this the compact SUV gets AUX-in, Bluetooth and USB support for the infotainment system. The system also provides iPod support. Reversing the TUV is quite easy as you get parking sensors which makes the job quite easy. You also get a voice activated seat belt warning when not wearing the seat belt which is a cool feature.

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The top of the line T8 variant of the Mahindra TUV300 also gets steering mounted controls, adjustable driver`s seat and a rake adjustable steering wheel. Like in the Scorpio you get an engine start-stop system which can be activated through the ESS button located below the steering wheel on the right side. There are no AC vents for the second and third row passengers as this means that the cabin would take time to cool in hot weather. Mahindra could have thrown in a touch screen infotainment system like the one seen in the XUV500 which would have definitely given the TUV an upper hand over its competitors.

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Also read: Mahindra TUV3OO vs Ford EcoSport – Specifications Comparison

TUV300 Mhawk 80 engine refinement and Performance –

Put the key in the ignition slot and start the Mhawk80. You will be pleasantly surprised by the low NVH levels of this new engine. That said Mahindra has done a good job of keeping the NVH to a minimum, but it is nowhere near the competition. With the windows rolled up there is considerable amount of diesel clatter filtering into the cabin, but it`s not too intrusive.

The TUV`s motor is extremely tractable with the vehicle pulling cleanly from 1000 rpm. That said the engine has been tuned for city driving making it quite easy to amble around town. At traffic signals the TUV300 pulled off quite effortlessly even in second gear. What disappointed us was the lack of top end grunt and the fact that the TUV takes time to gather pace. Getting into triple digits speeds is an uphill task, one reason for this being the gross weight of the vehicle tipping the scales at 2225 kg.

The gearbox is not the best in the segment but there is no reason to complain too. The forward gears fall into place easily, but we faced a problem twice while engaging the reverse gear (the gear would not slot into position). The clutch pedal is quite light and coupled with the tractable nature of the engine, city driving is quite enjoyable.
The engine is definitely more quieter than the Scorpio`s and Mahindra`s R&D department deserves a big compliment for this. There is a lot of vibration creeping into the gear lever but this is a typical Mahindra trait that its vehicles have. That said there is a lot left to be desired in the engine and performance department when compared with its main rivals like the Ford Ecosport and Renault Duster.

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TUV300 Ride and Handling –

Don’t expect the TUV300 compact SUV to handle like a car. The fact is that it doesn’t handle like one!
The TUV300 uses a ladder on frame chassis setup and though there is some body roll we were pleasantly surprised that it was pretty stable while travelling in a straight line at highway speeds. While cornering or making a high speed turn you feel a good amount of body roll, but it`s not something that will make you feel uncomfortable. Mahindra has equipped the TUV300 with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear, the TUV never lost its composure during hard braking unlike its other siblings.

The TUV tackles bad roads with ease and does keep its occupants quite happy. Go over a pothole or rough patch on the road and the Mahindra TUV300 manages to glide over it without making a fuss. Overall we were quite impressed with the way M&M`s compact SUV drives and handles, a brilliant effort from Mahindra on this front.

TUV300 Fuel Economy and Pricing –

Mahindra launched its new compact SUV – TUV300 in the Indian market in September 2015. Prices for the TUV 300 in India start from Rs. 6.98 lakhs – Rs. 9.20 lakhs ex-showroom, New Delhi. The compact sports utility vehicle is available in six colours namely – Molten Orange, Bold Black, Dynamo Red, Glacier White, Verve Blue and Majestic silver.

The TUV300 has an ARAI claimed fuel economy of 18.49 kmpl, but expect a lesser figure in real world conditions. The TUV will be a good replacement for someone looking for a rugged compact SUV, and though we didn`t get an opportunity to do any off-roading it definitely has some of those skills in its DNA. If Mahindra decides to introduce a 4X4 version of the TUV in the future, it will make the package even more desirable.

Verdict –

The Mahindra TUV300 is a great attempt by the folks at Mahindra with good looks, smart interiors, and a well-designed cabin. It has been priced competitively and has impressive ride and handling manners for a Mahindra vehicle. The only short coming we felt was the lack of a more powerful engine. Apart from that, it is a brilliantly packaged product and will do well in the semi urban and rural areas.

The TUV300 rivals the likes of the Ford Ecosport, Renault Duster and pseudo SUVs like the Cross Polo, i20 Active and the Etios Cross.

What you`ll like about the TUV300 –

• Tough traditional SUVish looks
• Cabin quality and interior space is impressive
• Low end grunt is excellent, pulls cleanly from 1,000 rpm
• Top end T8 variant is packed with features
• Ride quality is impressive, dispatches potholes with ease
• Overall a very good attempt from Mahindra

What you`ll dislike about the TUV300 –

• Boxy design and looks
• Dynamics will leave you disappointed
• NVH levels are not the best in the segment
• Last row of seats are good to accommodate only small children
• Engine lacks top end performance

Mahindra TUV300 specifications –

* Engine: mHawk80 diesel with 2-stage turbocharger
* Cubic Capacity: 1493cc
* Power: 84 BHP (Manual); 81 BHP (AMT)
* Torque: 230 Nm
* Transmission options: 5-speed manual and 5-speed AMT
* Mileage (ARAI certified): 18.49 kmpl
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension Front: Double Wishbone
* Suspension Rear: Rigid Axle Multi-Link
* Tyre: Tubeless Radials 215/75, 38.1 cms (R15)
* Brakes: Disk brakes at front, Drum brakes at rear.
* Safety Features: ABS, EBD, CBC, Dual Airbags

Mahindra TUV300 Dimensions –

* Wheelbase: 2680 mm
* Length: 3995 mm
* Width: 1835 mm
* Height: 1839 mm
* Wheelbase: 2680 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.35 metres
* Ground clearance: 190 mm
* Seating Capacity: 7 seats (5 + 2 configuration)
* Boot Space: 384 litres, 720-litres with seats folded down
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
* Gross weight: 2225 kgs

Mahindra TUV300 – Images


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Mahindra tuv300 alloy wheel


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